GREAT HEALTH: Tea Tree Oil - Great Health Guide
GREAT HEALTH: Tea Tree Oil

GREAT HEALTH: Tea Tree Oil

‘Tea Tree Oil’ written by Anna Dousdebes published in Great Health Guide (May 2017). Tea tree oil is very beneficial to our health and is a multipurpose oil for treatments. However, as tea tree oil is widely available, there are differences in the quality of the oil. Pharmacist Anna Dousdebes answers questions you may have about this fantastic oil as well as how to select a great quality product.
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GREAT HEALTH: Tea Tree Oil

written by Anna Dousdebes

It seems the simple Tea Tree Oil has some amazing health and healing properties including its antiseptic and skin health properties. But all oils sold as Tea Tree Oils, are not of the same quality. Anna Dousdebes, Pharmacist and Scientific Advisor from the consumer health care company Mundipharma, shares her knowledge about Tea Tree Oil and its health benefits.

Q1: What is Melaleuca Oil?

A1: Melaleuca Oil, also known as Tea Tree Oil, is an essential oil that is distilled from the leaves of the shrub Melaleuca alternifolia and is known for its antiseptic and skin healing properties. Australian Melaleuca Oil is world renowned for its purity and quality.

Q2: What medicinal properties does Melaleuca Oil have to verify its claims of treating cuts, stings, burns and grazes?

A2: Melaleuca Oil has a long history of traditional use dating back to the Indigenous Australians of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. These people were the first to use crushed tea tree leaves and a binding mud mixture for a variety of wounds and skin problems such as cuts, insect bites and burns. Stemming from this, the medicinal benefits of Melaleuca Oil have been researched for over 70 years in clinical studies, with the antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties of the oil now well recognised.

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More recently, considerable research, much of it by the Tea Tree Oil Research Group, University of Western Australia, has revealed Tea Tree Oil to be effective as an antibacterial, antifungal, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent using modern, controlled clinical trial conditions.

More information on the research conducted with Melaleuca Oil can be found on the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA) website.

Q3: How is the Melaleuca plant harvested to ensure that the medicinal properties are not damaged and rendered inactive?

A3: The process of harvesting and distilling Melaleuca Oil has developed significantly since its early use in Australia as explained in this video. Today, the harvesting is completed with specially designed equipment to create high quality mulch from the leaves, which is called a bio-mass. This bio-mass is sealed in a stainless-steel bin and infused with water vapor. The vapor cracks the oil cells in the leaf and bonds to the oil molecule creating condensate. The condensate produced is processed through a separator and is distilled carefully, passing through a series of filters before being stored in stainless steel drums.

To ensure the highest quality oil, each batch is tested at Southern Cross University, against target specifications. Due to the rigorous distillation method, the key antibacterial component in our Melaleuca Oil, is at least 45% greater than that of ISO and Australian standards. It is an important step in the process to ensure we have the highest quality active ingredient for our range of medicinal products.

Q4: When one great product enters the market, there are many copies. How can the readers ensure that they get the best Tea Tree Oil product available?

A4: It is important to note that not all Melaleuca Oil is the same. Pure Australian Melaleuca Oil is a complex compound consisting of more than 100 components which work synergistically to produce the inherent medicinal properties of the oil.

Unfortunately, recent times has seen the emergence of adulterated Melaleuca Oil, where oil has been diluted with synthetic components. The ‘nature identical’ oil is created synthetically using only fifteen of the 100+ components of the true and pure product. Since it is only these fifteen components that are listed in the Australian (AS 2782-2009) and International Standards (ISO 4730) for Tea Tree Oil, ‘nature identical’ oil is made to mimic 100% pure oil. This makes it difficult to distinguish the two. The importance of using products containing only 100% pure Melaleuca Oil lies in the fact that adulterated or synthetic products have no scientific evidence to support their effectiveness. Furthermore, adulterated or synthetic oils are not supported by the long history of traditional use by the indigenous Australians.

Q5: Is Melaleuca oil a topical treatment or is it sold as a tablet or mixture?

A5: Melaleuca Oil is used in its pure form either alone, or as an active ingredient in topical formulations. It is used for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties in creams, gels or powders. Melaleuca Oil is for topical use only and should not be ingested.

Author of this article:
Anna Dousdebes, BPharm. After qualifying as a Pharmacist, she spent 10 years working within the pharmaceutical and consumer health industry. Her special interest is in consumer health and complementary medicines. She currently works as the Scientific Advisor for a consumer health care company Mundipharma, Australia.

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